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Can Troy Murphy fill that Kendrick Perkins-shaped void for the Celtics?

Last week’s trade between the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which saw Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson go to OKC in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic, was a big shock to everyone.

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a fan of this trade. Perkins is one of the best big defenders in the NBA and can cope with the likes of Dwight Howard on his own. Especially at a time when the Celtics are leading the East and primed for a title run.

The Thunder definitely got better, there’s no doubt about that, as they got the big man they have coveted for so long in Perkins. The Celtics? Not so much.

I can understand that the Celtics and Danny Ainge didn’t want to have to pay Perkins in the summer, as he was going to become an unrestricted free agent (the Thunder signed Perkins to a four-year, $34.5 million deal this week), and if he had a good playoff series, Perkins could be looking at getting $10 million a year (which is a lot for a center with no offensive game) and have left for nothing anyway.

The Celtics got Jeff Green, who can fill in for Paul Pierce at small forward and will provide some scoring and energy off the bench. Green is averaging 18 minutes a night since the trade, getting you 6 ppg, and is a building block for the Celtics, along with Rondo, when the “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen retire.

The Celtics signed Troy Murphy yesterday after agreeing a buyout with Golden State Warriors, on a one year deal. The 6 foot 10’ forward will provide cover for KG and is another big body in the paint against the likes of the Lakers.

Is Murphy a good replacement for Perkins? He won’t provide the toughness and defence of Perkins, he’s basically a short-term rental for the Celtics. Murphy will be a good enough buy if the likes of Shaq can stay healthy and Jermaine O’Neal find form and remember he used to play at an All-Star level.

The Celtics are still strong and, if healthy, I can see them coming out of the East, I just think it would have been beneficial to keep the roster intact. Because if the Celtics don’t win it all in June, then the “What If’s” will certainly be coming.


Will Chris Bosh be traded before next month’s deadline?

Speculation is rife in the NBA at the moment that Toronto’s All-Star forward Chris Bosh is set to be traded before next month’s trade deadline. The general consensus is that Bosh will bolt from Toronto in the summer as a free agent, and join a bigger market franchise in a bid to win a championship. I mentioned on this blog last summer that the Raptors should have traded Bosh then, but now the team is faced with a dilemma: take their chances with CB4 and hope he decides to stay or do a sign and trade in the summer, or trade Bosh now and try and get some young talent back in return that the franchise can build on in the future. And as long as Toronto can get some decent pieces back, I believe they could be tempted to trade their prized asset.

The Raptors have tried to keep Bosh happy and encourage him to stay north of the border. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo signed Hedo Turkoglu to a big money deal last summer, as well as Jarrett Jack from the Pacers, as well as inking Andrea Bargnani (who they see as their future franchise player) to a 5 year extension. So you can’t accuse Colangelo of doing a Pat Riley in Miami and refusing to surround Dwayne Wade with talent this season. So far Bosh is having a monster season, averaging 23.8 points and 11 boards and leading the Raptors to a .500 record (21-21), which is 7th in the East. Therefore, there are plenty of teams that would snap up the 6-10 forward in a heartbeat.

I’m going to break down some of the trade rumours surrounding Bosh and decide where the Raptors should trade CB4 if they want to blow things up. First things first, there is no point in Bosh being traded to the likes of the T’Wolves, Memphis or New Jersey, because there is no chance he will re-sign when he becomes a free agent in the summer. There are plenty of valuable expiring deals out there (that’s you T-Mac) and some deals people won’t touch with a bargepole (yes, you Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries). But here are some trade deals for Bosh that could work:

Bosh to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum:

This is the ideal trade for both teams. Bynum has a ton of potential and plays better for the Lakers when Gasol is not in the team. The Raptors would get a valuable piece back and a true center they can build around, with Bargnani and Turkoglu. The Lakers would have the most formadible frontcourt in the league with Gasol at center and Bosh at PF, and Bosh would relish the chance to play under Phil Jackson and have a chance to win a ring now. I like this trade, whether the Lakers would want to trade Bynum is debatable, considering his potential and how long they have been developing him.

Bosh to the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas, Kirk Kinrich:

The Bulls would love this: they would get a legitimate low-post scorer in Bosh and CB4 would definetly be an offensive upgrade over Thomas. And Bosh would fit in well with the rebounding machine that is Joachim Noah, and Chicago would be glad to get rid of Tyrus Thomas and his bloated contract. Also, the Bulls would have a chance to contend right now, pairing Bosh with point guard Derrick Rose and the Bulls would be a force in the East.

Tyrus Thomas has a good upside but has never fully fulfilled his potential in Chicago. That could happen with a change of scenery though. Whether Thomas and Kinrich are a good enough return for a franchise player remains to be seen. It’s an excellent deal for Chicago and they would pull the trigger in a heartbeat, but the Raptors might be apprehensive and may prefer Noah instead of Thomas.

Bosh to the Thunder for Jeff Green, expiring contracts (Etan Thomas)

This could be a legitimate deal for both teams. The Raptors get a good young player in Green and save some money, which is always good in the current climate. The Thunder get the big man they desperately need, and can team him with their young core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. This would make the Thunder an automatic contender out West, as Bosh is going to be a 20-10 player for the next five years and Durant is going to be a beast, a top 5 player in the league for years to come (he’s only 21 and is averaging 29.1 points a game).

If Bosh was traded to Oklahoma, I could see him signing on in the summer as part of a team that could challenge for championships for the next decade.

These trades are ultimately just rumours. Personally, I can see Toronto keeping Bosh and taking their chances in the summer. I think CB4 will leave the Raptors in the summer though, leaving the Raptors with nothing, and join D-Wade in Miami or Lebron in Cleveland. And then the Raptors will be wishing they had pulled the trigger now…